April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child abuse and neglect is a major concern for Greater Las Vegas and Clark County, as it is with many communities. Child Protective Services gets thousands of tips about potential abuse and neglect and investigates many of them. If you suspect abuse or neglect, please report it so that the matter can be investigated. The Child Abuse Hotline can be reached at (702) 399-0081. If you are a parent and you don’t feel confident in your abilities, we would encourage you to contact the Parenting Project. There, we offer free classes so you can be more effective parent. After all, kids don’t come with instruction manuals. This is more than a child welfare issue. It’s a community issue. Not only do kids and their families suffer directly from abuse and neglect, but we all suffer as a community because of the negative effects on the physical and mental health of the victims. There is evidence that victims of child abuse and neglect suffer greater risk for heart disease and cancer, and one study showed reduced life expectancy of 20 years. Raising a child can be challenging! As parents, we are all vulnerable to losing our temper or simply becoming overwhelmed, and taking out our emotions on our children. The good news is there are some strategies to help. For instance: •Nurture your children and find ways to connect and bond with them. •Learn effective parenting. Attend parenting classes. •Remind yourself to put the needs of your children above your own. •Build connections with other parents, friends, and family members so you have a support network that you can turn to for help and advice. •Learn about programs that provide financial, food, housing and transportation assistance to families in need. •Take time to talk to your children about how they are feeling. To learn more, please visit ClarkCountyNV.gov.